Over the past 20 years, the Internet has changed the world and the lives of billions of people. Most of us don’t go a day without some form of interaction with the internet. Social media, online shopping, games, and the World Wide Web all have a permanent place in our lives, but it’s constantly changing.
A new term is circulating today known as Web 3.0 (or Web3). But what is Web 3.0 and is it so different from Web 2.0?
What is web 2.0?
Before we dive into the new capabilities of Web 3.0, let’s discuss the type of Internet we all use today: Web 2.0. Web 2.0, also known as the Social Web, is a version of the Internet that focuses on user-generated content and social platforms such as YouTube, Twitter or Instagram. It is widely considered to be the second evolution of the Internet following Web 1.0.
The term “Web 2.0” found a foothold in the tech industry as early as the early 2000s after the founder of tech publisher O’Reilly Media, Tim O’Reilly, discussed the concept of Web 2.0 at a conference. It then became a buzzword that made people fantasize about the possibilities Web 2.0 could offer humanity. O’Reilly defined Web 2.0 as “the web as a platform”, later including terms such as “democracy” and “social web” in its broad definition.
The term “Web 2.0” has fallen out of mainstream circles a little since it was first coined and the hype that followed. However, that does not mean that our modern internet is not representative of what it stood for.
It is important to note that Web 2.0 is not an entirely new type of Internet that is completely separate from its predecessor (Web 1.0). Rather, it describes a new or evolving way of using the Internet. Take cloud computing, for example. Web 2.0 highlights this technology where online resources such as computing power and storage space can be accessed instantly by users.
Think about what the web is most used for in everyday life. Millions of businesses use the Internet along with all streaming and gaming services. There are also whole economies that exist within the confines of the internet! On the one hand, the cryptocurrency market depends on the functioning of the internet. But above all, there is social media, which has proven incredibly popular and influential in our modern world.
Almost all of us use social media in some way, be it to watch a few YouTube videos per week or to run entire businesses through online marketplaces like Etsy and Depop. This evolution from static to user-generated content over the past 10 to 15 years is what Web 2.0 is essentially about.
Right now we are all using a centralized version of the internet (as always) with central servers storing and processing information. While this internet model isn’t necessarily bad, it is prone to server outages and cyberattacks. In addition, a centralized Internet allows a small group of individuals to store all of the information on a network at once, which can be risky.
Given these problems, there is now a new way to conceptualize the Internet known as Web 3.0. What Exactly Is Web 3.0 And Is It The Future Of The Internet?
What is Web 3.0?
The term “Web 3.0” is becoming increasingly popular and is widely used to describe a decentralized version of the Internet.
A decentralized network is one in which there is no central authority. In other words, no person or group of people has all the information and processing power within the network at the same time. Instead, it is decentralized and spread across multiple units. This means that no one can control or change the network’s ecosystem alone.
You may have heard the term “decentralization” in relation to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. This is because cryptocurrencies operate on a blockchain, with each “block” in the chain containing multiple transaction records.
These blockchains make transaction information available to everyone within the network in the form of a distributed ledger. When a transaction is changed, removed, or added within a certain block, the block is rejected by the rest of the network, making it very safe and reliable.
It is this technology that can give a network a great deal of transparency and security, and such attributes could certainly be useful to the Internet as a whole. In addition, decentralized networks do not have a single point of failure, so that the network cannot be paralyzed by an attack by a server or node.
That makes Web 3.0 an exciting opportunity. Of course, the concept itself isn’t new, as it was invented over fifteen years ago by Jeffrey Zeldman, who was instrumental in the development of Web 1.0 and 2.0. But only now is the idea of a decentralized internet becoming a reality.
In addition to decentralization, Web 3.0 will also integrate many AI-powered functions into its ecosystem. For example, content creation could go from being solely curated by humans to being AI-generated. In this case, an entire industry could emerge in which companies use intelligent machines to produce content for a human customer base.
In addition, Web 3.0 also allows much more user control. Individuals can participate in the control web logs and essentially become shareholders rather than users or customers (as they would currently be considered using Web 2.0). Users can tokenize online files such as memes, online tickets, videos, and works of art (similar to NFTs), opening up a whole new way for online creators to make money and start businesses with their intellectual property.
Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0: The future of the internet is here
The breadth of functions offered by Web 3.0 can fundamentally change the way we view and use the Internet by giving users more control, creating new industries, and allowing networks to function without a single authority and weak point. While Web 3.0 is still in its infancy right now, it may not be long before it becomes the norm around the world.
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